Will Wes Welker face NFL discipline for Aqib Talib hit?


Bill Belichick believes Wes Welker made a "deliberate" effort to take Aqib Talib out of Sunday's AFC Championship Game. Will the league office agree with the New England Patriots coach?

On NFL Network
NFL Replay
will re-air the Denver Broncos' 26-16 win over the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game on Tuesday, Jan. 21, at midnight ET.

» NFL Network schedule

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that any fine or discipline with regard to Welker's block will come at the end of the week.

Game officials viewed the play as a judgment call that contact between Welker and Talib occurred as the ball was being touched by Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. If the league office backs that thought process, Welker likely will escape discipline.

Here's the rule:

"If the contact occurs as ball is being touched, there is no offensive pass interference. When it happens all at the same time -- the ball being touched and contact elsewhere -- it is not a foul. The contact has to be clearly before the ball is touched for it to draw a flag."

Interestingly, the Patriots ran a nearly identical play late in the first quarter with wide receiver Julian Edelman delivering a hit that shook up Broncos cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Edelman was not flagged, though the play was wiped out on an offensive pass interference call on tight end Michael Hoomanawanui.

The biggest difference is the timing of the block of the star cornerback. Edelman's contact came well after the receiver touched the ball. The same cannot be said for Welker.

The "Around The League Podcast" recapped all the Conference Championship week action.